As a tackle shop owner, I generally spend a good portion of my day talking about fishing with my customers. Throughout the years, I’ve found that most vacationers who come here to Ocean City do not have access to a boat, and most understandably, do not know the best spots to go fishing from shore. That being the case, one of the questions that I am faced with almost daily in the shop has to do with spots —“Where can I go fishing?”
Fortunately, we are blessed here in Ocean City with an abundance of places for shore-based anglers to wet a line. Depending on water temperatures, seasonal changes and fish migrations, the best spots around town are constantly changing. Likewise, the fish species present at each spot also change throughout the year. Still, we do have a few spots that are almost always productive in one way or another.
This week, I’d like to discuss just two of our most productive and easily accessed fishing spots in town — the Ocean City Inlet and the Route 50 Bridge. Next week I will try to focus on a few of the smaller, less popular spots around town. But for now, let’s start with the Inlet. The north side of the Ocean City Inlet is one of the most productive areas for shore-based anglers. And lucky for us, Ocean City’s huge Inlet parking lot creates very easy access to this area as well.
If you’ve never fished the Inlet, the area I am talking about includes both the north jetty (the rock structure that extend into the ocean) and the Inlet seawall, which extends from the base of the jetty inward to a point behind the Oceanic Motel. The current traveling along this area and the massive amount of rock structure creates a very productive fishing spot that is good all season long.
Practically all of the fish that travel along our coast can be caught at the Inlet from time to time. These species include striped bass, bluefish, flounder, sea trout, shad, sea bass, tog, scup, croaker, spot, sheepshead, triggerfish and sometimes even black and red drum among other species that I am surely forgetting. The cooler months of the year typically favor striped bass and bluefish anglers at the Inlet, and tog fishermen also do well along the rocks. As the water warms during the summer, it is possible to pick up nice sheepshead and triggerfish along the Inlet rocks as well. Flounder fishing is also great in this area, and it is generally productive from the beginning of the season until the end.
Likewise, the Route 50 Bridge spans the entire width of the bay between West Ocean City and Ocean City itself and creates a massive amount of structure and current breaks for fish and fisherman alike. Bridge fishermen generally access the bridge by parking on either end of it, and fish from the walking paths that line each side of the bridge. Since these anglers are fishing from an elevated platform above the water, drop nets are often used to land and release large fish.
Almost all of the fish species that travel through the Ocean City Inlet can also be caught from the bridge, but those anglers looking for striped bass, bluefish and/or flounder tend to fish the bridge the heaviest. The cooler months of the year are usually the best for both striped bass and bluefish; however, there are some resident fish that seem to stick around for anglers all season long.
Flounder fishermen will also find productive fishing from the bridge all season long, and in the colder months, anglers will fish for tog around the bridge pilings adjacent to the east channel and the draw portion of the bridge. Still, tog anglers will often have more success at the inlet or other small rock outcroppings around town.
So, if you are in town this week and are looking for a nice place to get out and wet a line, consider going down to the Inlet or the Rt. 50 Bridge — two of Ocean City’s most popular fishing spots.
Next week we will cover a few more spots from around town. But until then, let’s take look at some of the fishing reports that have come in this past week.
Sue Foster at Oyster Bay reports, “Surf anglers are still talking about catching sharks on the beach at night or early in the morning. Some anglers are also catching big rays. One angler had his rod pulled into the ocean, never seen again. Many anglers are reporting good luck with kingfish, spot, and some croaker. Anglers fishing for kingfish and spot should use small hooks and bloodworms or artificial bloodworm combined with a little strip of clam, mullet, bunker, or squid fillet. For sharks, bunker fillet or whole squid on a larger hook. A kingfish head is very good shark bait. Finger mullet for bluefish. Croaker and sea trout take a small to medium sized hook with any kind of cut bait. Croaker also like clam. Trout take worms. I like a combination bait of worm (real or fake) and cut bait. Look
around, and find yourself a hole on the beach. Flat beaches don’t produce.”
At Harbor Tackle, Bev reports, “Stripers are being taken from the Route 50 Bridge and the Inlet. Lots of flounder are being caught; however, most are not many keepers. Minnows, squid, shiner combinations and combo-ed with Berkley Gulp are used for bait. A few schools of spot and croakers have started to show. Big sharks are in the surf along with rays, blues, kingfish, spot and croakers.”
JJ at the Oceanic Pier reports, “Another good week of fishing. The flounder bite was good, with some keepers and lots of throwbacks. A few croaker were caught. There’s lots of little sea bass for the kids to catch on the edge. Just get worms and fish straight down. At night, blues and shad are biting on gotcha plugs, and spec rigs.”
Captain Victor on the Ocean Princess reports, “Some decent fishing over the past week. He has been catching a mixed bag of fish that includes, sea bass, croaker, flounder, and trigger fish.”
Captain Drew Zerbe on the Tortuga reports, “This past week showed a broad range of conditions producing everything from some of our slowest fishing to our best trip on keeper flounder this season. When prospective customers ask, "What time is your best trip?" I tell them, "Got me, it changes three times a day,
everyday." You just have to get out there and see what happens. A few days during the week, the bay never saw any clean water the entire day. Still, despite this we also had some very productive fishing. Have seen more croakers and gotten reports of some off the beach, but they are not quite here in full swing yet. We’re also seeing the occasional king fish, trigger fish and tautog around the south jetty and Route 50 bridge.”
Clark at Old Inlet reports, “Heat and boat traffic has slowed the daytime striper bite in the Inlet. You’ll have a better chance for stripers at night using live eels and dark plugs/bucktails. The bite has been slow which is typical of the late July. Please note the 20-26-inch slot limit on striped bass only applies to the Delaware Bay during July and August. The limit in Indian River Inlet is two fish over 28 inches. Bluefish have been coming through the Inlet on the daytime incoming tide. They are hitting bucktails and metal cast lures. The flounder action has been good in the Inlet. Bucktails tipped with gulp baits especially the three and four-inch swimming mullet in white, chartreuse and pink have been very effective. Capt Jim Ruback on the Virginia Lee reported small flounder and croakers in the Indian River Bay. He did weigh one flounder tipping the scales at 4.4 pounds earlier this week. The surf has been very good. There are a pile of spot out there with croakers, kings, sand perch, blues and blowfish in the mix.”
Here at Skip’s Bait and Tackle this week, we have seen a bunch of good size flounder caught throughout the bay much more than the past few weeks. On Saturday, Bob Gummer limited out with his biggest being just shy of 25 inches. He caught his fish on live bunker.
On Saturday afternoon, Bill Pollock Jr. from Edgewood brought two nice flounder in that he had caught on the 2nd through 4th Street Bulkhead while fishing with live minnows.
On Monday, Chase Eberle from Ocean City went diving around the Route 50 Bridge and shot two nice tog, measuring about 21 inches.
Tuesday afternoon, Ocean City’s Dominic Cannuli, who works at Skip’s Bait and Tackle Shop, took a few hours off work to go spear fishing under the Route 50 Bridge and managed to shoot his first tog measuring 20 inches and weighed 4 pounds.
On Skip’s Charter Service, we had a fun week with most of our trips centered around crabbing, clamming and flounder fishing, though we had one trip that we went inshore shark fishing. The clamming has been productive and the crabbing excellent, and the flounder bite is fairly consistent and we have even seen a few croaker show up recently.
On Wednesday, Rob and Jaden Berk went fishing with us and had a great time out on the water a few crabs a few fish and an overall great day.
On Friday morning, we went out with Ross, Nancy, Gary, Kelly, Josh and Seth Transue and caught a whole bunch of flounder in the bay.
As a birthday present, Garrick Connelly from Barrington, R.I. went out fishing with us with his dad and brothers on Friday and had a great day of back bay flounder fishing, lots of laughs good fishing and a nice flounder for the table at the end of the day.
Charles McGinnis and his son Glenn from Brick, N.J. went near shore shark fishing today and caught a few beauties and had a fun time trying to catch a few more and even got a hammerhead to the boat.
On Tuesday, we went out with Pete Cline, his wife Robin and two grandsons, Jack and Kevin, from Harrodsburg, Ky., and caught a half bushel of clams, about three dozen crabs and some flounder. All in all, it was a fun day out on the water and the weather was decent.
We have come to the end of a week filled with hot weather and it doesn’t look like it is going to be getting any cooler but there are still fish out there waiting to be caught. We have a boat for every person’s needs. From bay to Inlet, inshore to offshore, with half-day and full-day trips available. Book now while the fishing is great. We provide all rods and tackle as well as all the bait, so pack some sunscreen and a few drinks and come on out for a memory-making day on the water/ When you step on the boat, you are stepping on a boat that has over 40 years of fishing and boating experience. With some of Ocean City’s top captains working for “Skip’s Charter and Guide Service” this year. Give me a call at the tackle shop at 410-289-FISH (3474) or on my cell 410-430-5436 and lets talk fishing. At the tackle shop we are open 6 a.m-9 p.m. If you have a report or pictures you would like in The Dispatch or on www.oceancityfishing.com email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Get out there and fish! Who knows? Maybe I’ll be writing about you next week.
(Maguire is an outdoor writer and owner of Skip’s Bait and Tackle and Skip’s Charter and Guide Service in Ocean City.)